Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pluripotent Stem Cells Shown To Generate New Retinal Cells Necessary For Vision, Study Finds

Date:
November 21, 2008
Source:
SUNY Upstate
Summary:
Pluripotent stem cells -- those, like embryonic stem cells, that give rise to almost every type of cell in the body -- can be converted into the different classes of retinal cells necessary for vision, according to a new study.

Pluripotent stem cells eventually formed into functioning eyes in tadpoles (similar to the ones depicted above), which used their induced eyes to detect light and to engage in a vision‑based behavior.
Credit: iStockphoto/Juli Van Breemen

Pluripotent stem cells — those, like embryonic stem cells, that give rise to almost every type of cell in the body — can be converted into the different classes of retinal cells necessary for vision, according to a new study from researchers at SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Related Articles


This research points to exciting new possibilities for preventing or reversing the disabling vision loss caused by age‑related macular degeneration, diabetes retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma, and other diseases that damage the retina, the layer of light‑sensitive nerve cells that line the back of the eye. The research was presented at Neuroscience 2008, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, D.C.

“Vision is lost in these diseases because one or more of the seven retinal cell types die,” said the study’s lead author, Michael Ezra Zuber, Ph.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology and adjunct assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at SUNY Upstate Medical University. “Current treatments can slow these diseases’ progression, but they can’t replace lost retinal cells. Pluripotent cells offer a promising starting point from which to generate new retinal cells.”

Zuber and his colleagues knew that cultured pluripotent cells could be induced to express some retinal cell genes, but they didn’t know if all retinal cell classes could be generated or if the cells would have the ability to form a functioning retina. To test that hypothesis, the scientists turned to pluripotent Xenopus laevis (frog) cells.

Under normal conditions, pluripotent frog cells form only skin tissue. The scientists were able, however, to convert the pluripotent cells to retinal cells by forcing them to express the eye field transcription factor (or EFTF) genes. The reprogrammed cells formed all seven classes of retinal cells normally found in the eyes, including the retinal ganglion cells, which have axons (optic nerves) that extend to the brain.

Furthermore, these new cells eventually formed into functioning eyes. When tested, tadpoles used their induced eyes to detect light and to engage in a vision‑based behavior. The scientists also found a population of self‑renewing cells in the periphery of the induced retinas, suggesting that EFTF‑induced cells also formed adult retinal stem cells.

“The goal of regenerative medicine is to replace dead or dying cells,” said Zuber. “The retina, like all body organs, contains multiple, distinct cell types. Therefore, successful recovery from blindness due to injury or disease will require the functional replacement of multiple retinal cell types. Our results demonstrate that pluripotent cells can be purposely altered to generate all the functional retinal cell classes necessary for vision.”

The research was supported by Research to Prevent Blindness, the E. Matilda Ziegler Foundation for the Blind, The Lions Club of Central New York, and the U.S. National Eye Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by SUNY Upstate. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

SUNY Upstate. "Pluripotent Stem Cells Shown To Generate New Retinal Cells Necessary For Vision, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081120210853.htm>.
SUNY Upstate. (2008, November 21). Pluripotent Stem Cells Shown To Generate New Retinal Cells Necessary For Vision, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081120210853.htm
SUNY Upstate. "Pluripotent Stem Cells Shown To Generate New Retinal Cells Necessary For Vision, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081120210853.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — The White House on Friday announced a five-year plan to fight the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria amid fears that once-treatable germs could become deadly. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) — In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins